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Stephen Boulton, Technical Service Manager at F. Ball and Co. Ltd., explains the purpose of carpet tile tackifiers, their usefulness in office environments and the recent innovations that are improving their performance.

In most circumstances, flooring adhesives are designed to create a strong bond between a subfloor and a floorcovering. However, there are situations and applications where it is desirable to have an adhesive that does not create a permanent bond. This is the case when laying loose lay carpet tiles, which are a very popular choice of floorcovering for offices and other commercial premises.

The advantage of installing carpet tiles is that individual tiles can be quickly and easily removed and replaced if they become worn, damaged or stained – in areas occupied by chairs with castors or busy walkways, for example.

But while tiles must be easy to lift and replace, they also need to be held firmly in place to withstand everyday foot traffic or equipment and chairs being wheeled around.

Permanent tack, easy release
The solution is to adhere these floor tiles to the subfloor using a carpet tile tackifier. These adhesives are formulated to provide an instant and permanently tacky film to hold carpet tiles in place, while enabling individual tiles to be easily lifted and replaced with new ones if required.

Typically, the adhesive is applied evenly across the entire subfloor, using a roller or brush, and allowed to dry to a clear, tacky film. The adhesive will then remain permanently tacky throughout its life; the key property in holding tiles in position, especially when subjected to lateral forces, such as those applied when someone is walking over the floor. When lifted vertically, the carpet tiles can be easily removed and new tiles fitted into position.

The latest formulations of carpet tile tackifiers offer some notable improvements over previous products.

Latest innovations
Following extensive research and development, F. Ball has launched a new, improved version of its popular Styccobond F41 carpet tile tackifier. The solvent-free, acrylic adhesive has been reformulated to provide improved coverage capabilities, faster drying time and increased tack – whilst still allowing carpet tiles to be lifted easily when required. Flooring contractors will also notice that F41 is now significantly easier to apply as a result of reduced viscosity.

As well as being solvent-free, the carpet tile tackifier is certified EMICODE EC1 Plus, testament to its ultra-low VOC emissions, which make it suitable for use in office areas that need to remain in-use while the installation takes place.

Styccobond F41 can be used for securing a wide range of dimensionally stable ‘flat lay’ carpet tiles backed with bitumen/felt, non-woven fabric, PVC and other polymer backings. It can be applied over Stopgap levelling compounds, Stopgap waterproof surface membranes and a wide range of absorbent and non-absorbent subfloors, including structurally sound, smooth and dry concrete, sand/cement screed, plywood, raised access flooring panels and terrazzo. It is also approved for use in marine flooring installations and is suitable for use over normal underfloor heating systems.

Flooring contractors can purchase Styccobond F41 in 5L and 20L bottles as well as in a 15L rectangular bucket – for ease of application. The containers are all resealable for future use.

It’s important to check the compatibility of particular floorcoverings and adhesives. For this purpose, F. Ball produces its industry-leading recommended adhesives guide (RAG), which lists adhesives recommended for use with over 6,000 floorcoverings produced by over 200 manufacturers. It’s available as a free app or a printed booklet, and an interactive version can be found on the F. Ball website. Contractors can also contact F. Ball’s technical service department, from 7.00am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. Otherwise, they should consult manufacturer’s instructions.

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